Funding Boost for Welsh Manufacturing

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An additional £1.25 million EU funds announced last week will create high level skills training opportunities for another 400 Welsh industry employees across East Wales.

The Materials and Manufacturing Education Training and Learning (METaL) project already covers West Wales and the Valleys. Swansea University has worked with employers, including Tata Steel, to develop targeted courses which fulfil industry demand. This extension funds further accredited, work-based training in the key growth area of manufacturing until 2022.

Counsel General and Brexit Minister Jeremy Miles, who is responsible for EU funding in Wales, said:

Wales has always been a big player in heavy industry, engineering and manufacturing. Welsh productivity in this sector is higher than the UK average.

The manufacturing industry is moving quickly in new directions. It’s vital that Welsh employees have up-to-date, high level technical skills and knowledge to inform research and develop products which are competitive in the global market. The extended funding I’m announcing today provides a skills boost for the Welsh manufacturing sector, and is a great example of the way EU funds are helping to promote and contribute to a modern, dynamic, and prosperous economy that benefits everyone in Wales.

The College of Engineering at Swansea University will deliver a series of accredited training modules at NQF levels 4-8 to 400 people, via flexible, employer-friendly classroom or online learning methods.

The £20 million Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, AMRC Cymru, opened in Broughton, Deeside in November 2019. The Economy Minister, Ken Skates, described it as a “magnet project which will drive innovation and excellence as well as having a big impact on our economic outlook.”

Referring to this new EU funding for skills training, Mr Skates said: 

Ensuring that people in Wales have the high level technical skills we know we will need in the future is absolutely vital to the long term health of our economy and this will be a key element of our new manufacturing plan.

I welcome this European funding which will help us build on Wales’ existing industrial and academic excellence and create the sort of highly skilled workforce we need to position Wales as a first class location for new technologies.

Dr Khalil Khan, METaL Project Manager at Swansea University, said: 

This EU funding is already being put to good use, and has enabled Project Metal to share its expertise, knowledge and experience in supporting Welsh businesses across the East Wales region.

The funding complements the investment and commitment of Welsh Government in supporting Welsh industry.

We see the benefit of this investment as being the skills boost it provides, by ensuring that the Welsh workforce have the correct technical knowledge to enable Welsh businesses to compete in a global marketplace.

Since 2007, EU-funded projects in Wales have created 49,000 jobs and 13,400 new businesses, while assisting over 27,000 businesses and helping 90,000 people into employment.